Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing has made a triumphant return to the TCR International Series podium at the Hungaroring, with Pepe Oriola fighting his way up from P7 to finish second in race two. The Spaniard had a strong weekend in Budapest, finishing fifth in race one to help move him up the championship ladder to fifth place with 109 points. James Nash struggled in qualifying and just missed out on Q2, forcing him to fight back during each of the two races. The #54 driver did well to claim points finishes in both races, with a P7 in race one and P9 in race two. He remains in his P7 championship position with 74 points. Daniel Lloyd’s first visit to the Hungaroring did not go as planned after an unlucky ruling by the stewards nullified his Q2 time and forced him to start P11 for both races. Lloyd did a great job to take his #17 SEAT Leon to P6 in race one but he was taken out on the opening corner of race two and forced to retire, losing him more valuable championship points in the process.
Pepe Oriola: P5 - 1:53.739 (Q2)
Daniel Lloyd: No time classified (Q2)
James Nash: P12 - 1:54.632 (Q1)
Oriola started from P4 on the grid and held his own as he dove into the first corner. The #74 driver went around the outside but was forced into P5 where he would remain for the rest of the lap. Both Lloyd and Nash got off to flying starts, charging up the field to slip into P7 and P8 respectively. Lloyd and Nash were then hot on the tail of R.Huff, while Oriola began to create a gap up ahead during his chase for R.Colciago. Half way through the fourth lap, R.Huff suffered a mechanical failure, allowing Lloyd and Nash to slip past into P6 and P7 respectively. All three cars would push to the chequered flag over the next ten laps but the order would remain unchanged, with Oriola crossing the line in P5, followed by Lloyd in P6 and Nash in P7.
Race two got off to a chaotic start with Oriola and Lloyd being forced wide at turn one. Oriola made it back onto the circuit to slot into P5 but Lloyd was collected by a multi-car incident that forced him into the barriers and out of the race. Nash made it safely through the opening fray by taking the inside line and climbed up the order to P8 as the safety car was called out. The race restarted on lap four and Oriola had a three second gap to close on R.Colciago, while Nash gave chase to N.Michelisz. It only took Oriola two laps to reel in Colciago, and the #74 driver made an easy overtake down the inside of turn one to claim P4 on lap six. Oriola continued his charge and began to quickly close in on G.Altoe in P3. After numerous attempts at making a move stick, he found his way up the inside of turn one on lap 12 to break onto the podium. With only two laps left, the Spaniard was desperate to take another position and needed to find only 0.5s to catch J.Moller in front of him. In a brilliant maneuver at turn 13, Oriola was able to snatch away second place as he began the final lap of the race. There was too much of a gap to close in on A.Tassi but Oriola had driven a stunning race to climb from P7 to P2 and stand proudly on the podium for the first time since Monza. Nash drove a fairly solitary race after the safety car period ended, crossing the line in P9 with a large gap to those behind to secure himself his second points finish of the weekend.
Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing
“Despite scoring good points I am disappointed, the Hungaroring should have been a circuit we challenge for wins on, and whilst I am very happy with a 2nd place, we were never in contention to challenge for a win here. As the series becomes more competitive the BOP is more and more crucial, and things are still not yet right. I am not saying this until my cars win, the Golf was also not competitive enough here.”
Daniel Lloyd, #17
“Race one I had a really good start, which was the first good start I’ve had and made some places up off the line. I showed really good pace to catch up to Pepe by the end of the race. I closed the gap massively and went from 11th to 6th. I had another good start for race two, got around the outside for the first corner, and I started 11th and I would have been up to about 7th or 8th by turn two. Unfortunately, an incident on the inside of the track collected me and smashed me into the barrier, which was a great shame. Given what happened in qualifying, if they hadn’t taken away my legal lap I would have been on the front row for that race and out of a lot of trouble. It could have been a very different weekend had it not been for that call, and a win certainly would have been on the cards given my race pace. I have a big boost of confidence for the next round though now that I am dialed into the car and I am looking forward to Oschersleben.”
James Nash, #54
"Really good to score points in both races at the Hungaroring. I am a little disappointed in my qualifying performance as it meant I had to really work hard in both races to break into the points and come away with a decent result. I am now focused on Oschersleben in a few weeks time to get back onto the poidum."
Pepe Oriola, #74
“I really wanted to finish on the podium after some recent disappointments, and I am very happy with the result and with my race. We changed something in the car between Race 1 and Race 2 and it proved effective. Being able to overtake Colciago, Altoè and Møller on such a track was not bad at all. My only problem was at the restart after the safety car, I was caught a little by surprise, as the radio was not working. It was also a good result for staying in the fight for the championship, which will go on to the very end. Still, today’s hero is Attila, I want to congratulate him warmly, and I know what it is to clinch one’s first success at a very young age, he has a bright future ahead. We also welcome him in the selected club of drivers that have won both races of a same event, we aren’t so many!”